A record 88 pre-entries have been received for the sixth running of the six-race, $550,000 Claiming Crown scheduled for July 17 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. There are 22 pre-entries--the most for any of the races--for the $125,000 Dodge Claiming Crown Emerald at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
According to Claiming Crown officials, Minnesota leads the way in pre-entries with 20, followed by the Mid-Atlantic region (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia) with 16; California and Illinois each with 12; Kentucky with seven; New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas each with five; Iowa with three; and Florida, Nebraska, and Canada each with one.
Trainer Scott Lake, who will attempt to build on his total of six Claiming Crown wins, will bring seven horses, including three entries (Polish Times, Rize, and Spooky Mulder) in the $150,000 Continental Diamond Claiming Crown Jewel, feature of the afternoon.
Scheduled to appear in the Claiming Crown is Rafael Bejarano, the nation's leading rider by wins who captured riding titles at both Turfway Park and Churchill Downs this year. Also scheduled to ride is Tyler Baze, who has earned more than $4 million dollars in 2004 riding primarily on the West Coast. Two-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and 2004 Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Kent Desormeaux will make his first ever appearance at Canterbury and in the Claiming Crown.
The first planeload of approximately 18 horses is scheduled to arrive from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions July 11, with a smaller load scheduled to arrive from California July 13. The Claiming Crown draw will be held July 14.